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Gov. Beshear Thumbs Down On Reappointing Williams' Cousin

FRANKFORT, KY -- Gov. Steve Beshear has not reappointed a cousin of Senate President David Williams as an administrative law judge though Tom Davis of Tompkinsville was selected by a nominating committee for another four-year term, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

Williams, R-Burkesville, said the appointment is the Democratic governor's prerogative, "but every occasion he gets to stick his finger in my eye, he does."

Dick Brown, Beshear's director of communications, said, "The fact that Mr. Davis has any relationship with Sen. Williams played no role in the decision. The nominees for these positions face the same objective process as those for any other board, commission or appointment made by the administration."

Williams disputed Brown's comments. "The place over there leaks like a sieve and it was the factor," the senator said. "I'm not complaining, whining about this, but every time the governor does something like this, he looks a bit smaller."

Earlier this year, Beshear nixed a road project championed by Williams. Beshear's Transportation Cabinet canceled an $11.9 million change order that expanded a $53.2 million project to widen and straighten Ky. 90 and Ky. 61 in Cumberland County.

The change order was approved at the recommendation of Williams for his district in the final days of former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration. The Beshear administration said the project was canceled because of its cost and "bad use" of the change-order process. Change orders are meant to reimburse contractors for unforeseen expenses, not expand the scope of projects, it said.

Beshear also redirected $15 million in developments at Dale Hollow State Park, which is in the heart of Williams' district, to the state Horse Park in Lexington to prepare for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Williams said Friday that he played no role four years ago when Fletcher appointed Davis to be an administrative law judge. Such judges, appointed by the governor with consent of the Senate, deal with workers' compensation claims and receive about $130,000 a year.

Davis, 59, said he learned Thursday that Beshear had not reappointed him. He is to leave the job July 15.

"I guess it's political," said Davis, a former district judge in Adair, Casey, Cumberland and Monroe counties.

Asked if his kinship to Sen. Williams played a role in his losing his job, Davis laughed and said, "I think that was a factor."

Davis, whose office is in Bowling Green, said he expects he will practice law in Tompkinsville.

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